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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 August 2005, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Aston Villa 1-0 Blackburn
Milan Baros celebrates scoring on his debut for Aston Villa
Milan Baros made a dream start to his Aston Villa career by scoring the only goal in their first win of the season.

Villa made most of the running in the first half and were deservedly in front when Kevin Phillips played in Baros, who slid the ball past Brad Friedel.

The Czech star was denied a second by Friedel's legs while Liam Ridgewell and Phillips hit the post after the break.

Blackburn gradually improved and went close when Thomas Sorensen denied Jemal Johnson and Shefki Kuqi at the end.

But all the talk among home fans will inevitably focus on Baros and, on this evidence, he looks worth the 6.5m paid by Villa to Liverpool.

His pace and movement caused all sorts of problems in the first 45 minutes and he struck up an instant understanding with Phillips.

Baros was booked at the end for tumbling over under a challenge from Friedel after racing clear on goal but the supporters still went away chanting his name.

They almost had a goal to cheer within the first five minutes when a looping header from Aaron Hughes went over Friedel but Dominic Matteo headed it over from close to the line.

A breakthrough was not long in coming, however, and a dreadful pass from Tugay resulted in Phillips playing in Baros to slot home.

It was nearly 2-0 when Phillips flicked the ball on for Baros to race in on Friedel again, but the American denied him this time with his legs.

Rovers, with one eye on the criticism of their aggressive style of play, were meek and offered virtually nothing as an attacking force in the opening period.

Indeed, had Gavin McCann's shot whistled in rather than past Friedel's far post and Baros' glancing header crept in, they could have had no complaints.

Villa continued to ask questions after the restart and were agonisingly close to a second goal when Ridgewell met Barry's free-kick with a glancing header which crashed against Friedel's right post.

Rovers suddenly came to life and Kuqi should have done better when a defensive mix-up saw the ball fall for him in the area but he was dreadfully wide with his shot.

Mark Hughes then brought on Matt Jansen for Garry Flitcroft and there was a definite change in the tempo of the game.

Villa were suddenly on the back foot but a succession of corners could not result in a clear-cut chance for the visitors.

And Phillips should have put the result beyond doubt when a breakaway ended with Baros squaring the ball to him, but his fierce drive crashed against the upright after beating Friedel.

It could have been so costly when substitute Jemal Johnson's vicious long-range shot was spilled by Sorensen, only for the keeper to smother Kuqi's effort from the rebound.

  • Villa boss David O'Leary on Baros:
    "He played very well and got off to a brilliant start but tired in the second half because he hasn't played too many 90-minute games.

    "We'll get more than that out of him and he will prove a valuable player for many years to come - he's a threat.

    "His pace worries defenders and he's given us a great option. He will prove to be a very good player eventually.

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "I though the performance merited at least a point, maybe a bit more.

    "The first half we were slow coming out and were caught cold with Baros' goal but we had a real go in the second half trying to get back into the game.

    "We couldn't equalise and if we had we might have gone on to win. On another day we would have nicked a goal."

    Aston Villa: Sorensen, Hughes, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Samuel, Barry, Davis, McCann, Whittingham (Berger 69), Baros, Phillips.
    Subs Not Used: Angel, Taylor, Cahill, Moore.

    Booked: Mellberg, Baros.

    Goals: Baros 11.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Todd, Nelsen, Matteo (Gresko 57), Flitcroft (Jansen 61), Emerton (Johnson 81), Pedersen, Tugay, Savage, Reid, Kuqi.
    Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Mokoena.

    Booked: Nelsen, Matteo.

    Att: 31,010

    Ref: M Clattenburg (Co Durham).

    Interview: Aston Villa manager David O'Leary

    Interview: Blackburn manager Mark Hughes

    Interview: Aston Villa's Milan Baros


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